Damsel In Distress!

Adria Richards is an embarrassment to all women, but most especially women in technology. The only thing “sexist” about this entire affair was Richards’ appalling and grossly unprofessional behavior. I usually don’t wish anyone to be fired from their job but I frankly hope she never works in IT again. At least, not unless she unreservedly apologizes and takes 100% ownership of her own deplorable behavior.

Is that likely? I doubt it. Since she’s a woman, Female Privilege will likely assert itself, and White Knights will rush to her defense. She probably could have shot these guys dead and people would be defending her, the situation has gotten so bad here in America. If this was what most women were like, I would declare myself a misogynist and would probably favor laws banning women from the workplace because it would make it inarguable that they are unfit and incapable of functioning like adults. Fortunately, I know better: most women aren’t like this. But shame on her, shame on those treating her like a damsel in distress rather than the total jackass she is, and shame on the misogynists who call themselves “feminists” who think her actions were in any way appropriate or who are condemning those of us who call BS on her BS behavior.

If she were an adult and a professional she would apologize sincerely. And I mean for all of it, every single bit of it, every single action and word she took on this entire affair, and accept 100% responsibility. Furthermore, she and any woman with any self-respect ought to condemn the “Ada Initiative code of conduct,” which is an obscenity.

Women: make a choice. Did you want equality or did you want a world that bends to your sensitivities and keeps a fainting couch handy any time you happen to randomly feel the need for it? Are you functioning adults or pearl-clutching ninnies? Enough of this crap. If you want to be treated like an equal adult, start acting like it. Otherwise, seriously, stop pretending you want to be treated like an equal, because you’re obviously just a privileged over-entitled brat demanding special privileges and special treatment.

Anything further I have to say, Janet Bloomfield says it better. I could just write “what she said” and leave it there. I probably will.

*Update*: Like or hate their tactics, I think this outright assault on the geek community is getting unsurprising results. Like hypocritical damsel in distress Anita Sarkeesian, this is an example of people who think they can act like bullies just because they’re women, then hypocritically complain about sexism.

*Update 2: Can we get Amy Poehler fired?

I’m just kidding, I ADORE Amy Poehler. But the social double standards are astounding.

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  • http://www.jerrykindall.com/ Jerry Kindall

    > If you want to be treated like an equal adult, start acting like it.

    You mean start acting like a MAN’s idea of an adult, amirite? :-)

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    LOL! You mansplainer!

    Bring on the fainting couches.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Why do I get the feeling that a massive Preference Falsification may be about to fall?


    (Thanks Dish, great concept.)

  • Scott

    I fail to see the double standard in Amy Poehler’s commercial. Both I and my gf watched it and felt the flirting near the end “will you read ‘Shades of Grey’ to me in a sexy voice’ as: awkward, inappropriate, desperate and creepy. Which is the same thing we would say if it was done by a man to a woman.

    BTW, OT:

    Luke’s Change: An Inside Job. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dvv-Yib1Xg&feature=player_embedded#!

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    I thought the Amy Poehler thing was very funny. That said, YMMV and all that. What I object to is the hypocritical double standards wherein women may say sexually provocative things and that’s just “cute” but when a man does it it’s horribly oppressive and must be stamped out. I’ve been in workplace situations wherein women can get away with saying and even doing the crassest of things and everyone thinks it funny wherein I know if a man did or said them he would risk being fired or at least severely disciplined.

    I don’t mind if someone says “I think that’s crass and vulgar.” I do mind living in an Orwellian universe wherein there are horrid double standards where men can be persecuted for it because women can’t… and as The Critical G so well notes, the fact that she’s a cute girl actually makes it worse here, and more imperative that we speak up about it:

  • http://michaelgersh.blogspot.com Michael Gersh

    Apparently Adria Richards has been fired from SendLink over this kerfuffle.

    Update: Oops! Missed the notice in your post…

  • Scott

    Here’s a solution: Be a Black Knight.


    BTW, I like the explanation Critical G gives. But I disagree with it a little.

    He posits that people like Adria are seeking justice (I agree) but are “doing a kindness to the victim” (I disagree). I’ve noted in my study of history that there are feelings and ideas common to all monsters like the Nazis, the Soviets, the fascists and the extremist Islamic Jihadii’s like OBL.

    They all share a set of beliefs which goes like this: We are the righteous people but we’ve been held back (victimhood) from our true glory and golden age by a monstrously evil, sub-human enemy (dehumanization of the “other”).

    This, of course, leads these groups to believe that any action, no matter how horrific to outside viewers, is justified (self-righteousness) since the enemy is so completely and utterly evil. They or he must be destroyed by any means necessary. And it’s all good because once the oppressor is destroyed we’ll go back to normal civilized standards.

    Which never happens, of course. Once a movement dips into the well of self-righteous victimhood and end-justifies-the-means thinking it is hard to come out and the movement starts looking for, defining or creating new “enemies” to keep what drives the movement going.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    I’m generally supportive of your intentions with the men’s rights movement. But in practice, Dean, you’re no better than the feminists you decry in rushing to judgement and exploiting an event like this Adria thing for your polemical gain rather than trying to actually understand what happened and help solve the problem. Here are three things I read that gave me a different perspective on this incident than the version you are promoting.




  • Scott

    It’s ironic that Aziz is criticizing Dean for using this event for “polemical gain” when Dean is actually bringing it up to show that Adria used a simple joke she overheard for polemical gain.

    Look we all hear inappropriate comments made around us from time to time. Both men and women do it. The adults among us either ignore it or deal with it discretely (like dealing with the even organizers). After doing that, Adria herself posted details of the incident (including a photo), in violation of the agreement worked through by the event organizers. This posting got a father of three fired and made the other fear for his job.

    She did this as a selfish act to forward her online social activism and her polemic created a shit-storm of male-bashing.

    This from a woman, Adria, who has posted crude sexual jokes and racist comments online (“black people can’t be racist”) even when she was traveling to the event.

    I’m glad Adria got fired, she richly deserved that for her actions. The company who hired her was looking for a competent adult who’d do her job and not harm the company by being an idiot and making unnecessary waves.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    ironic? is that the right word?

    maybe there’s a Conservation of Polemic law in effect I wasn’t aware of, but it’s entirely possible that Adria and Dean both are being polemical.

    I didn’t defend Adria here, but I think my links show that the entire affair has a depth to it that is lacking in Dean’s description.

    In particular, the idea that Adria got the guy fired is simply wrong. She acted stupidly. And cruelly. But I understand why she did that. It doesnt ecuse her behavior, but neither can painting her as a FemmBot of Evil suffice either.

    And no one deserves to lose their jobs over this, but if we are to cast blame, then let’s blame two really wussy-ass tech companies who would rather throw an employee to the wolves than actually stand behind their man/woman.

  • Scott

    In particular, the idea that Adria got the guy fired is simply wrong.

    Uhm, yeah Aziz, according to the page you linked to the guy fired said this:

    As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.

    So, yes she “got him fired” by highlighting his poor joke. Of course, you’ll disseminate and say that if she didn’t DEMAND and PURSUE his termination she “didn’t get him fired”. But, come on, his termination was a direct result of her rude eavesdropping and unprofessional leaking the pic after the meeting in which he apologized.

    Him losing his job was a tragedy. But it’s not true that ANYONE losing a job is bad. When you have a hateful and unprofessional jerk like Adria who causes waves that can affect your company you can her ass and don’t look back.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    he got fired because of the photo, but that was not her intent. He did not deserve to be fired and she did not seek that out.

  • Scott


    Like I said, you’re dissembling in your typical way. It might not have been her intent (but what do you know of her intent? Are you a mind reader? Can you explain her posting it and going on a diatribe even after he apologized?) but it was a direct result of her actions.

    Try telling a judge or a cop that even though you didn’t intend harm your actions led to someone being hurt and you, an intelligent person, should have easily seen the outcome.

    Intent is a bullshit argument. He’d still be just as fired whether she “intended” it or not. Her actions led directly to his dismissal and so she owns it. She got him fired. No amount of dissembling will change that.

  • Scott


    In cases where things happen that aren’t our intent because of our actions the mature, responsible and professional action would be to apologize to those affected for the outcome of our actions.

    Adria hasn’t apologized; instead she’s gone full martyrdom syndrome by focusing on her dismissal from her company for her unprofessional bullying.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    if she hasnt apologized, she’s in the wrong. But neither she nor the guy deserved to be fired over this. It’s that simple.

    we are declaiming one injustice and then celebrating a second one.

  • Dishman

    A SendGrid developer evangelist’s responsibility is to build and strengthen our Developer Community across the globe. In light of the events over the last 48+ hours, it has become obvious that her actions have strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite. As a result, she can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid.

    In the end, the consequences that resulted from how she reported the conduct put our business in danger. Our commitment to our 130 employees, their families, our community members and our more than 130,000 valued customers is our primary concern.

    Statement from SendGrid

    Bringing bad publicity on your employer is grounds for termination.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    I don’t know about firing someone for “bringing bad publicity,” it really depends on how it’s handled.

    That said, her job is to be a technology evangelist for her company. Having people fear her and constantly watch what they say around her isn’t conducive to that. Apologizing for overreacting and behaving badly would have done her a world of good, and coming out and asking them to give the guy his job back, would have helped salvage this for her, though last I checked she still hasn’t yet done so, and was instead comparing herself to Joan of Arc.

    And at Jezebel, the statement was:

    “Regardless of what you think of the joke itself, it is sexist to contribute (willfully or cluelessly! Ignorance is not an excuse!) to a hostile work environment for women. Full stop. If you didn’t realize you were doing it, that means you haven’t bothered to think critically about women’s comfort and needs.”

    Think first of women’s comfort and needs in the workplace. That’s part of your job now. Because equality, apparently. Thinking of men’s comfort, needs, or what might constitute a hostile work environment (like feeling like you have to walk on eggshells at all times, even in private conversation apparently not being a hostile climate.)

    Really, if your job is publicity and evangelization for your company and its products, this is an Epic Fail at all levels.

    People are now raising money for the guy who got fired and trying to get him rehired, BTW. Adria Richards could help herself a lot by joining in on that. For some reason I’m not expecting it, but it would be a nice surprise.